Less than 72 hours after a man suspected to be a Boko Haram kingpin was arrested in Makurdi, Benue State, the state government and state police command are at cross-roads as to how the suspect managed to escape from custody.
There was palpable apprehension in the state following the announcement of the alleged terrorist’s arrest on Radio Benue. Shortly after the purported arrest, the state government claimed that the man was whisked away by policemen to an unknown location where he would be interrogated. This claim was however, countered by the police.
Information Nigeria recalled that a statement released by Special Adviser to the Benue State governor, Cletus Akwaya, on Thursday, stated that “a very important member of the sect was arrested by men of the police in Kanshio, a suburb of Makurdi town”. Shortly after the press release, the announcement was relayed on the state-owned radio station.
The statement revealed that the alleged terrorist, a Fulani from Taraba State, was arrested following a tip-off and was found to be in possession of six blank cheques and copies of maps of some parts of Makurdi, the state capital.
“The detailed descriptions of the places were contained in an exercise book. A police source disclosed that the maps showed some possible targets for attacks. The suspect was whisked away to an unknown location where he is being questioned by security operatives”, the statement read in part.
In a turn of events, however, the spokesperson of the Benue State Police Command, DSP Daniel Ezeala, denied the arrest yesterday, insisting that the police only arrested an immigrant from Chad, who had long been handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“The man we arrested is a Chadian and if we find him to have breached the law in any way or suspect him of any wrong-doing, we shall charge him to court. But we have handed him over to the immigration service”, Ezeala said.
The police spokesperson could, however, not confirm if the said suspect had on him the items listed in the statement made public by Akwaya. “There is nothing like that, investigation into the matter is on-going”, he noted.